Are you sometimes plagued with the idea that you didn’t get it right? That you didn’t get your life right, that is? Like somehow there was a particular way you should’ve done it—like the way your best friend did it or your sister did it.
Now you feel like you’ve just totally missed the boat. You didn’t do it right, you didn’t do it when you were 27; you didn’t write that first book by the time you were 45, like you thought you would.
Now you just feel like you’re in the 11th hour. Maybe you even feel like a total failure. You’ve just done it wrong. And what difference does it make anyway, because it’s too late. So really, why even bother?
This weekend I saw an art show in New York city. It wasn’t the greatest show on earth but it was really powerful in terms of seeing how differently artists step up to their canvases. (Read: how differently we all step up to our own lives.)
The unifying thread was “unfinished” work. These were paintings from various artists, from different time periods and what they had in common was that they were all unfinished.
Unfinished—just like your life and mine.
The most interesting thing to me was to see how differently all these “unfinished” paintings were unfinished.
Raphael Mengs had every detail finished in his Portrait of Mariana de Silva y Sarmiento except for two spots. There was an outline for where a dog was going to be but it was completely blank—empty canvas. There was also a place for a face but that face was still washed out. We could only see just the very beginnings of what was to come. Everything else was finished.
Alice Neel had her James Hunter Black Draftee’s face painted but she left his ears and body completely blank—just a basic outline of what was to come.
Some artists started their canvases from the left side with everything meticulously painted in. But to the right? Completely blank.
My favorite was Hommer’s Shooting the Rapids, Saguenay River. Three guys zipping down white water rapids in their canoe. The motion in the painting’s there. The emotions are there—fear, seriousness. The churning white water’s there. Even unfinished, the energy in this painting is already popping, especially on our paddler’s face, up at the front of the boat—he looks like “holy sh** I’m up a creek without a paddle!” His arms are up in position for the paddle, but… there’s no paddle. I love it!
We’re all up the creek without a paddle at some times in our lives and it really can feel like “What’s the point?” “It’s too late anyway.” “I can’t do it.” Etc.. etc..
It doesn’t matter where you are.
It doesn’t matter where you’ve been.
It doesn’t even matter if you haven’t really stepped into that proverbial studio of yours since you were a teenager.
I’ve learned that in my own life and in the lives of my 30 years’ worth of clients. It has absolutely no predictive power whatsoever. It doesn’t tell us anything about where you’re headed.
What does matter, and it matters in spades, is that you do step back in; that you do open that creaky door to your studio and dust off some of those canvases of yours.
It can be imperfect.
It can be wobbly and awkward.
It can be a mess.
But if you want to live a life that you feel excited about getting out of bed for every morning—well, almost every morning—then….
I invite you to take those first steps back into your studio; back onto the road to your greatest and most brilliant self.
With showers of love and light,
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©2016 Rhégina Sinozich